Last Updated on October 24, 2021 4:35 pm
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced on Thursday, October 21 that Watauga County has been awarded a $145,000 grant for “Project Checkout” to be used to aid ECR Software to expand in Boone. The grant was awarded under the Building Reuse program of the NC Department of Commerce's Rural Economic Development Division.
“This expansion is a great example of what happens when communities, businesses and government work together,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “With the local leadership, passion, and resiliency here in Watauga County, this investment, and others to come, will continue to propel the High Country and this region forward.”
The County will loan the funds to ECR Software to help with the cost of renovating the building recently purchased by ECRS, located in the Watauga County Industrial Park. ECRS will create 31 new jobs as a result of the renovation. If those new jobs are retained for six months after creation, the loan will be forgiven. The average annual salary of the jobs is $59,194. The NC Community College System will provide customized training for the jobs as needed.
This local expansion will enable ECRS to manufacture equipment in Boone that is currently being manufactured in China.
“I am pleased Watauga County can be involved in a small way in ECR Software's expansion, especially since it will enable the creation of good jobs in Boone; bringing the jobs from overseas is a bonus,” said Joe Furman, Watauga County Economic Development Director. “I am thankful for the assistance provided by Bill Slagle of the Economic Development Partnership of NC to put the application together and present it to NC REDD.”
ECR Software Corporation was founded in 1989 by Peter Catoe in Boone. ECRS produces point of sale systems (hardware and software) for the retail food industry, retail and wholesale for the liquor and tobacco industries, with customers in all 50 US states, Canada and the Bahamas. ECRS currently has 178 total employees with 143 located in North Carolina.
The types of jobs being created as a result of the expansion include software and product development, hardware assembly and deployment, inventory management, hardware and software support and project managers.
The building renovation is expected to begin in November and completed by Spring 2022. An opening event will be scheduled at that time.
“ECRS has become a mainstay of Watauga County's economy, and we are hopeful this project will make them even stronger for decades to come,” Furman said.